Making a Travel Website

When you are creating a new website for your tourism organization you start with your strategy. Without a strategy you won't be able to make a good website because it will be very hard to make the right content and design choices.

In your strategy you have defined:

  • What do you want to achieve and why
  • What are your offering
  • For who are the experiences created
  • Why should they love me or why do they love you

You define you, purpose, vision, goals, niche with top destinations and experiences, your target audience and your unique selling points.  

This will define your content needs but will also determine the design that you need.

When you have your strategy defined; dig a bit deeper.

How can my website contribute the the goals from my strategy, what role does my website play in the customer journey which conversion do i want to focus on, how will they lead to more sales, which steps do i believe travelers need to go through on my website before making a booking.

Understanding your Customer Journey

Start thinking about what kind of questions the visitor of your website has, and how you can answer the easily and drive them to the services and experiences of their needs.

Think about how you can guide people interested in your destination or niche towards a booking.

People don't end up just buying directly on your website, the will come back multiple times before you are able to pull off a sale.

Digital Moments from Google
Digital Moments - Image from Google

Therefore your most important first step is to inspire your persona to come your destination or doing your experience and wow them in such a way they want to come back.

People come with an idea, but they get distracted very fast and get lost. If you keep them in the booking flow of what they wanted and confirm them in their choice, your conversion is much higher. that is why you don't want to have to many alternatives or maybe even none on your page.

But also be helpful, it's your job to remove any doubts a visitor might have about coming to your destination and to give a good idea what this person can do in your destination.

Besides that you need to proof that other people like your visitor and industry experts love your company and destination with reviews and recommendations.

And only if the above is done, visitors are ready to be send and go through your booking form.

During this process you need to build trust with the visitor and make them happy.

We call this framework inspire, help, proof & sell

Preparation & Briefing

After you set your strategy and have and understanding of the role your website play in the customer journey, you have to translate this in a briefing for your web developer. Normally the web developer will guide you in this process, but the more you are able to take the lead, the higher the change the end result will reflect your strategy.

Before making your the design briefing of your website select some sites of competitors your really love. Analyze how the converted their strategy onto the website and think about where you can improve this. What elements of the website can you make easier.

Start with a sitemap to plot all the pages you need and then create page table to define what kind of information you need on which page. Design the customer journey toward the conversion goals on your site map and page tables by defining next steps per content block and building logic ways to navigate to your website towards a booking.

To help you we create a sample page table of a homepage for a tour operator company, copy and use the template as your want.

The you start with the design.

Designing your travel website

You have to keep your website as user friendly as you can.

Make your website visual, visuals are remembered longer and better then text and are faster to transfer information. The combination of short texts and image can improve to get the essence with a factor 6 compared to only text.

The goal of the design of your website is to make sure the visitor can execute what they want without friction / thinking, staying in an i like this flow.

To keep travelers in such a flow, means that the site should follow design standards. This makes your website easy to use and predictable, because most websites work the same as yours.

Make sure you present clear what your customers are searching for: your best experiences, what are the highlights and cost, reasons why to do business with your travel company, to come to your destination and what others say about you.

When creating a destination marketing website you want to make sure you pay attention to what travelers spend their money on: accommodations, tours, attractions, food, events and shopping.  

Try to guide people into the direction you want them, by offering limited choices. The more you ask from a visitor the less they will do, this is what we call the paradox of choice.

To Much Choice is paralysing
Read more about the paradox of choice on keep it useable

A rule of thumb is that giving more then 12 choices becomes overwhelming and choices on a row should be more then 3, max 4.

Not only think about your best products and destinations but also when you want people to come, if you want more people to come in low season guide your visitors into that directions by giving them reasons why that season is the best season for them.

And also important with who they come. By creating for example blocks for families, solo travelers, etc. The idea behind these blocks is that you make it easy for customers to find an experience they love. You help them through the sales process.

Websites that structured their content to be scanned showed an increase in measured usability of 47%

When designing your webpages you want to design with in the back of your mind, that if people scan the page quickly they got the most important message.

When users scan, they’re looking for great pictures and search for specific words and sentences that give a confirmation that they are on the right page.

Besides using visuals that not only show the beauty of your destination but also represents your persona's, use headings subheadings to break up content so users can visually jump to the section that is relevant to them.

Inspire, Help, Proof & Sell

Each page of your website needs to Inspire, Help, Proof & Sell.


Inspiring you will do with a beautiful opening picture or video of your most important travel product, experienced by your most important persona preferable showcasing one of your Unique Selling Points.

This part of the website is called the hero section. The visual will be combined with a header introducing the offer and a subheading that explains more. It needs to be clear that you need to scroll down for further information, for example with the help of an arrow.

A tag line if you feel that is appropriate and not harming your visual should share a reason why the traveler should to this.


Show why people should visit your destinations and do your experiences, but also give them the links to have all the information they need to make a proper decision.

You can be helpful with giving your audiences easy choices, towards your best experiences like is doing by showing their must do experiences. Note how they support their images with text that describes the outcome for you as a visitor: Get Thrills, Swim, See from New Perspective, Hang out with Animals instead of saying the name of the experience.  

Sydney Must Do Experiences

Another example of help is from Beck Hall Hotel in England. They use a smart visual way to show highlights around their hotel and how close they are.


Reviews, testimonials, awards that are won should all be present on each page, proof is an important tool you have to give a traveler the confidence to choose for you.


The ultimate goal is selling a booking or getting a traveler to your destination. This won't go in one step, people take small steps towards a booking and need to be guided to it.

You encourage visitors of your website to a next step with a Call To Action; CTA. Each block should have a CTA to a new page and or and encouragement to read further. The ultimate CTA is the filling up of booking form.

For clarity its a good idea to have all your CTA's the same design so people understand or see your CTA's quickly.

For a destination marketing website, selling is sending people to tourism companies that offer the accommodations, transport and experiences. You can do this directly, or through an OTA, the benefit of sending traffic to an OTA is that its, easy and your DMO can earn some money to finance the website. Better would to make a trade database like has.

Underneath example of Israel shows a clever way of sending travellers to different kind of OTA's so there is no problem in favoring one above the other, if you do such a solution as a DMO you want to first check if there are no local partners who can does this, so that money doesn't leak out of the country.

Israel Travel

The tour / experience or product page

Besides Inspire, Help, Proof & Sell you want to highlight those elements on your product pages that are most important for you key clients / personas to decide if this tour is something for them.

Travelers not only want to know what is offered, but also want to have a quick price indication to judge if the package is something for them.

What elements need to be communicated on a tour page?

  • Why should the visitor go on this tour, if possible you communicate this in your first header
  • For who is this tour designed, combine this with an under header or in the summery of your tour page.
  • Why should the visitor do this experience in this destination and not somewhere else,
  • Why should this visitors do this tour with your travel company.
  • What did others like the visitor thought about this experiences (Reviews).
  • With what other kind of experience can you combine this tour ?
  • How do i book this tour ?
  • What are the booking conditions.  

Its crucial to think about how you will sell, do you offer direct selling with an online payment possibility or do you prefer the visitor to use the experience information to get into contact with you.

For direct bookings, people need to have more trust in your company, this can be difficult if your client comes from oversea. Especially if the trust in your country is perceived weak. Having objective reviews, mentions in magazines, awards are all crucial to show to win that trust.

To create a flexible solution try to work in blocks


  • Visuals that show the best of the tour / experience


  • Visuals that show for who is it
  • Short explanation why this experience and for who
  • Highlights
  • Details of the offer


  • Reviews
  • Awards
  • Social Feeds


  • Easy contact forms
  • Online booking form
  • Newsletter subscriptions
  • Chat
  • Phone / Email address to get into quick contact

Mobile Phones

All of the above also works on mobile phones, the scanning though might go much faster. They needs to triggered to stop at important elements with proper call to actions, the right pictures and well written short headings.

Having a bit of different content on a mobile phone or at least the way its presented compared to a desktop could be a very good idea.

Most visits are happening on mobile phones in 2022, the change you website is first discovered on a mobile is much higher especially if you don't focus your ads on driving travelers to your desktop. (Facebook, Insta etc, people see your advertisement in a mobile environment).

Tourism Website builders

The great thing of today is, that you don't need to spend massive amounts of money anymore on a website. There are awesome website builders that offer ready made template based on the latest marketing insights.

With these kind of systems you don't have to bother about hosting and techniques but only about content.

A great example of a tourism website made with a website builder is the destination promotion website of Door County, in Wisconsin USA, which is build with SimpleView

The website of Door County is excellent and has all the elements to guide a visitor with inspiring and helpful content, that is backed up by proof and a very good sales system.

Website of Door County
Website Door County USA

The opening or hero section of the Door County shows the destination is an outdoor destination, with lots of exploration possibilities. The menus come from a smart set up CMS where Door County only has to organize the content, the systems feeds it to the visitors is a structured way. You can argue that there are maybe a bit to many options in the menu. The extra attention for Food & Drink feeds into a trend and the events and festivals button shows there are lot of things to do. You could think if those are the traffic drivers for Door Country. The business directory show all businesses in the area in a very structured way, interesting in the system is that its connected with a direct booking tool that helps to bring ecommerce to all the tourism companies in the area.  

Improving your website

When designing your website you have to make choices, where do i place which destination, experience etc, to help you check if you made the right decision, you can use A/B testing and or heat map solutions. A/B tests help you to discover which solutions worked best version a or b. While heatmaps help you to identify where people click.

Another tool that helps you analyze what works and what doesn't is Google Analytics. There are more trackers out there, but its easy to set up integration with search results from Google make it a preferred tool for analyzing your results.

Constantly improving, extending and updating your designs will help you to get a better website with more visitors.

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